June 20: Rocks can kill

It’s a sad state of affairs when a man is arrested for defending himself against one who would harm him or take his life.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Baseless, misleading
Sir, – Your incorrectly headlined article “‘UNRWA report on Gaza education false, biased’” contains baseless and misleading allegations.
The report in question is by the UN’s special rapporteur on education, an independent human rights expert, and not, as your headline says, by UNRWA.
Citing COGAT, the article claims Israel heard about UNRWA’s plan to build 100 schools in Gaza from the media; not true. Since we presented our reconstruction plan to the Sharm e-Sheikh Conference in 2009, we have discussed the building of the new schools with COGAT on several occasions.
Notably, we briefed COGAT about the 100 schools at a meeting in June 2010 attended by Maj.-Gen. Dangot and held under the auspices of the UN special coordinator. Following that, UNWRA submitted to COGAT an approval request for an initial 74 schools.
Your article accuses UNRWA of delaying reconstruction; another falsehood. Twenty-four schools have been approved. Work on nine has been contracted and is underway, as it is for approved and funded projects. For the remaining 15 schools, funding negotiations started as soon as they were approved because no donor wanted to fund further schools prior to that. We are now about to finalize funding for most of them.
However, our negotiations with donors are complicated by the fact that there are other projects, especially crucial housing projects, that have been fully funded for years and which have been awaiting approval by the Israeli government. Early approval of these projects would ease the flow of fresh funds and allow people who have been deprived of proper homes for years to rebuild their houses.
CHRIS GUNNESS Jerusalem The writer is spokesman for UNRWA
Kudos to Kara
Sir, – Ayoub Kara, deputy minister for the development of the Negev and Galilee, made public his plea that something positive be done for the Syrians fleeing Syrian reprisals (“Let Israel send aid to Syrian refugees, MK Kara tells Erdogan,” June 17).
Kara offered aid from Israel.
He has, moreover, been able to say to the world that he represents a free and democratic Israel. As a proud representative of the heroic Druse community, he has made it possible for the world to comprehend that Israel is in fact made up of people whose hearts are always touched by the plight of refugees and always seek to help in concrete ways when there is a disaster anywhere.
Kara should be well-remembered for stating the facts that Israel is a free and democratic country.
Rocks can kill
Sir, – It’s a sad state of affairs when a man is arrested for defending himself against one who would harm him or take his life (“West Bank shooter given house arrest,” News in Brief, June 17).
Courts sometimes acknowledge the danger of rock throwing.
For instance, a US judge sentenced a man to 38 years in prison for throwing rocks at motorists. These projectiles are lethal weapons. As such, a potential victim must have the legal right to use deadly force against the threat.
Had this doctrine been employed early in the first intifada, loss of life and injury could have been prevented. As it is, rock throwers are almost always guaranteed impunity.
Minor tinkering
Sir, – Regarding “A-G calls Israel Beiteinu bill ‘discriminatory and humiliating’” (June 17), governments often engage in social engineering, trying to encourage certain behaviors (like recycling garbage) and discourage others (like dropping out of school).
The most extreme example in this country is the huge incentives we provide to the ultra- Orthodox to avoid gainful employment and army service, and to produce as many children as possible.
Relatively speaking, a civil service preference for veterans seems to be a small bit of tinkering, so what’s the attorney-general’s problem?
Needless to say
Sir, – Although it may seem to some that Caroline B. Glick (“A do-or-die moment,” Column One, June 17), is exaggerating the danger Israel is under, she is, in fact, underestimating it.
Glick writes: “Dagan failed to note that it would be far more disastrous to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Exactly! However, saying “All of the lesser threats now gathering from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey will become insurmountable if Iran becomes a nuclear power” is redundant.
According to Prof. Bernard Lewis and Reza Kahlili, the doctrine of mutual assured destruction will not work with Iran, so Iran may well start a nuclear war undeterred, in which case all the other threats coming from Egypt, the PA, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey become irrelevant.
Bitter pricing
Sir, – Your editorial “The cottage cheese uprising” (June 16) stated ironically that Israeli products often sell for less abroad than they do at home. To prove your point, I can offer one small example: A Pesek Z’man candy bar in the supermarkets in Jerusalem sells for NIS 4.59, or about $1.35. The same bar sells for only $1.00 in kosher stores in Queens, New York, even after transporting that bar 5,600 miles.
Can it be that Israeli consumers of Pesek Z’man are subsidizing consumers in New York?
Sir, – Since making aliya in 1979, I have always been amazed at the difference in price of a deodorant stick sold in Israel and the UK. Deodorant sells in Israel at approximately three times its cost in the UK. While there are many theories regarding the reasons for this, one thing is sure: Something stinks!
Petah Tikva
Bloom no Jew
Sir, – Leopold Bloom (“Bloomsday tour around Dublin celebrates Jewish protagonist of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’” June 16) is not Jewish. His father was a Jewish convert to Christianity and his mother was Protestant.
He himself converted to Christianity.
Of course, Bloom is a fictional character, but since June 16 is observed as “Bloomsday,” he has taken on a certain reality.
Ganei Omer
Aiming low
Sir, – I was amazed to see that The Jerusalem Post now prints articles by officials of the Palestinian Authority (“The real reason for Palestinians’ water crisis,” Comment & Features, June 15).
Is it really necessary to publish pieces that deprecate the Israeli government and people? After all, it is hard enough for us to maintain our hasbara efforts without giving our enemies the opportunity to speak badly about us through our own media. It is akin to shooting oneself in the foot.
A mere foofaraw
Sir, – More than two months ago, MK Danny Danon (Likud) announced that he would be filing a lawsuit in New York before April 16 against Judge Richard Goldstone. The action would be based on the UN report on the Gaza conflict.
Danon also said he would be filing a similar suit in Israel against Goldstone.
Needless to say, Danon’s purported initiative received considerable attention. Perhaps I have missed reports of the actual filing of these two lawsuits.
More likely, the announcement in April was but another of Danon’s self-aggrandizing, puerile, publicity-seeking foofaraws, full of sound and fury but signifying absolutely nothing.